In El Paso, Texas, Khalid sits on the hood of the car, singing as the scorching sun burns in the dry desert. An American flag is tied to the side view mirror of his car.
At a pool, a woman wearing a bandeau bikini top and sunglasses checks her phone. It reads send location. She taps it.
On the hood of his car, Khalid’s phone dings and he reads his new message. He gets in his car and drives to the woman.
Back at the pool, she tosses another man into the pool and he slides down a tube. She and her friend continue to wait. After an hour, her best friend helps her up and they leave. Khalid checks his phone and “arrived” is on the screen. He looks at the pool and sees no one there. He asks a group of guys and they say everyone left about 15 minutes ago. He gets back into his car again and drives back home.
In the desert, he wraps the American flag around his shoulders.
The woman and her friends walk to someone’s house. She sends him another message, stating where she is. At the party, two friends hug. She walks through the kitchen, looking to see if he is nearby. She heads to the bathroom, where another woman smirks at her. She looks at her screen again, wondering if she should send him another message.
In the house, Khalid is in the kitchen, staring at the directions on his phone. He walks upstairs and looks by the doors, which are closed. On the bathroom mirror, she draws a heart with her lipstick and writes “upstairs.” He grins when he enters the bathroom and sees the mirror.
She walks to the bedroom, her plaid top over her shoulder. She lies on the bed in her tight dress. He opens the bedroom door and enters.
Khalid got stopped by several traffic lights, which prevented them from meeting the woman the first time. She believed he changed his mind. However, both rely on apps on their phones to communicate. Neither texted the other back or even called one another to find out what happened. Despite having the ability to talk, they choose not to do it. It’s strictly two word answers for everything.
She decides to try again, spending the entire party looking for him and staring at her phone. He proceeds to look at his phone while he walks inside. A young woman, sitting on the counter, wearing a halter top, seems annoyed that he strolls in and doesn’t say anything.
However, when they do talk face to face, it’s either to their friends (woman) or strangers (Khalid). It seems as though the woman wants some certainty and values communication but is settling for Khalid. Khalid is only interested in sleeping with her. He doesn’t seem to care what she has to say. Talking seems to be a selfish act for him. If it benefits him, he will speak. Otherwise, he’ll tap his phone and respond with as little effort as possible.
Considering the political climate, the American flag draped around his shoulder becomes a symbol that he, as a person of color, matters. The rebellious messages resonates, which he can care about whomever he chooses. It’s his freedom to do so.
Director: @Alex_DiMarco Year: 2016